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Youth suicide in Queensland continues to concern

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Youth suicide in Queensland continues to concern

8 September 2023

Queensland Family and Child Commission (QFCC) has released new data ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day to raise awareness about youth suicide.

Tragically, 20 young Queenslanders died by suicide in 2022–23, the same number as recorded in 2021–22 but well below the higher numbers recorded in 2020–21 (30) and in 2018–19 (37).

QFCC data indicates eight out of 20 young people who died by suicide in 2022–23 had a history of alleged abuse and neglect, with emotional and physical abuse the most common abuse experienced.

The risk factors of suicidal ideation, self-harm and suicide attempts are associated with future suicidality, with QFCC data showing at least one of these risk factors was present for 16 of the 20 young people who took their lives in 2022–23.

As a result of the lower numbers of suicides in recent years, the increasing trend in youth suicide rates observed since 2004 has lessened.

Quotes attributable to QFCC Principal Commissioner Luke Twyford:

“Regardless of the circumstances, the death of any child is tragic, but when a child or young person takes their life, the impact on family and friends is particularly traumatic and leaves many with unanswered questions.

“We know many factors may contribute to youth suicide, including childhood abuse and neglect, substance abuse, exposure to domestic and family violence and household dysfunction.

“While it’s positive we didn’t see an increase in cases over this past year, 20 lives is still too many, and it tells us that we need to continue talking about the risk factors and educating the community on how best to respond to young people in crisis.

“Suicide prevention is a community issue and a coordinated approach, including early intervention and support, is necessary to reduce the rates of young people taking their lives.

“We also need to listen to young people with lived experience of the mental health system and its responses and include their views in conversations about improving services.

“One of the best ways to help a young person is to talk to them—ask them how they are and how they are feeling—or encourage them to talk to an adult they trust. And importantly, when young people communicate either verbally or through their actions, it is essential we listen and take action.”

Quotes attributable to QFCC Youth Advocate Grace, who has lived experience of depression, anxiety and suicide ideation:

“The majority of suicide support services, like crisis support spaces, are only for people over 18, which leaves young people often referred to mental health services that do not offer support for suicidal thoughts.

“Even as a young adult I’ve struggled to find services that are appropriate for me, with the stigma I’ve faced from healthcare professionals being traumatising in some instances and contributing to my mental health difficulties.

“We need greater suicide awareness and education for both the general public and health professionals, so people don’t respond to disclosures of suicidal thoughts from a place of fear or stigma.

“Current youth mental health services focus on early intervention, which is vital, but there is a lack of affordable and accessible services for young people who are living with suicidal thoughts and don’t need to be hospitalised.”



For media information, contact:
Kirstine O’Donnell | Queensland Family and Child Commission
Phone: 0404 971 164
Email: media@qfcc.qld.gov.au





Reported cases of youth suicide in Queensland